Celebrity trainer and nutritionist Harley Pasternak holds a master of science degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto, and an honors degree in Kinesiology from University of Western Ontario. As a fitness and nutrition specialist, Harley has trained many celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Halle Berry, Katy Perry, Megan Fox, Robert Downey Jr., Ariana Grande, and Jennifer Hudson. He has appeared on MTV, VH1, E!, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dr. Oz, THE VIEW, The Tyra Banks Show, Access Hollywood, Extra, Rachael Ray, America’s Next Top Model, Good Morning America, and The Today Show. Harley has lectured around the globe.
Here, Harley shares a little more about himself, in his own words.
How did you get your start?
I grew up in Toronto Canada. I was a hockey player and got involved in bodybuilding at a very young age. I spent nearly a decade going to university to earn degrees in exercise physiology and nutritional sciences.
After I finished my master’s degree, I became an exercise and nutrition scientist for the Department of National Defense. I ran a superhuman lab—a laboratory where we conducted research on ways to make people run faster, jump higher, and stay awake longer using foods and drugs. It was during this time that I started a personal training business catering to Hollywood actors that would come to Canada to shoot films and television series.
As my business grew, I hired trainers who were also in my exercise physiology program, and opened up a couple of personal training studios that were attached to film studios. I even transformed an 18-wheeler into a 53-foot tractor-trailer fitness center that could go on location, so I could work with actors while they shot films.
After working on many films in Toronto, I was asked to work in Montreal on Gothika, a film starring Halle Berry, Robert Downy Jr., and Penelope Cruz. On that film, Halle Berry asked me to travel with her to Los Angeles to get her ready for her next role in the film Catwoman. Upon arriving in Los Angeles to work with Halle, I also had the opportunity to work with Milla Jovovich on Resident Evil, Rachel Weisz on Constantine, and Orlando Bloom. Shortly thereafter, I wrote my first book, Five Factor Fitness, and appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Following that, I wrote six more books: Five Factor Diet, Five Factor Success Journal, Five Factor World Diet, The Body Reset Diet, The Body Reset Diet Cookbook, and, most recently, 5 Pounds.
At this point, I have worked on more than 100 feature films, 40 television series, and nearly 30 concert tours. Our client roster has included more than 150 high-profile actors and musicians, including Ariana Grande, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Megan Fox, Jessica Simpson, Kim Kardashian, Milla Jovavich, Rob Pattinson, Adam Levine, Kanye West, and John Mayer.
I’ve also been fortunate to work on several health and fitness-related projects, such as designing my own running shoes for New Balance, games for Xbox and Nintendo Wii, snacks, exercise equipment, and even my own blender.
Where have you appeared or been featured?
Too many places to name, but it all started with The Oprah Winfrey Show. I have served as a regular on the Today Show and Good Morning America, and I’ve even been a judge on America’s Next Top Model. I had my own show on ABC for a while, called The Revolution. You can find my weekly blog on People.com.
How do you find your fit?
These days, I get a lot of exercise chasing my daughter around. I also walk the golf course and do resistance training.
What is your most memorable achievement?
Helping to create my daughter.
Why do you love Fitbit?
Where do I begin? Being able to use Fitbit devices both for myself and with my clients means we are finally unshackled from the gym. No more need to tether ourselves to a treadmill or elliptical for hours on end each week. We finally get to focus on living more active lifestyles, from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to bed.
I also love the fact that having a Fitbit makes physical activity a community thing. From my friends, family members, and coworkers, even my clients, we have a healthy competition to see who can be the most active each week. The sleep tracking function Fitbit offers, is also enormously important in measuring both the quantity and quality of sleep that I, and my clients, get. As we all know, sleep is one third of our life, and it directly impacts the other two thirds.
What do you love most about your job?
No suits! I get to wear shorts, a t-shirt, and running shoes every single workday—it’s amazing. I also get to make people happier and healthier. The other thing that I’ve truly enjoyed is all the travel I’ve done. I spend about one-third of each year in different countries, meeting new people, and being exposed to different cultures and foods.
What are you most proud of?
I guess I’m proud of the fact that I’m still around in the business. I’ve been doing this for nearly 25 years, and I was one of the few to actually spend time in University earning not only a degree in exercise physiology and a degree in nutritional science, but also a graduate degree in exercise and nutritional sciences. That foundation has made me steer clear of any lucrative endorsement offers from weight-loss pills, cleanse diets, and quick fixes, in exchange for being able to impart healthy science-based, moderate and effective advice for people.
What’s the best health or fitness advice you’ve ever received?
From Jack la Lane, he said, “If it tastes good, spit it out.”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve ever learned?
From Victor Frankel, make the process your goal. Viktor Frankl said, “Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause.”
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.